Covering School Violence and Discipline
Violence, both in school and out, affects every aspect of the lives of children it touches. Violence can be as fleeting as a playground injury or as devastating as an abusive parent, gang battles in a child's neighborhood, a terror attack or a natural disaster. Exposure to violence and trauma exacts an emotional toll on children, and their reactions and scars may be very different from adults'.
Community journalists covering a wide range of beats, including youth, education, living, police, may need to identify and report on the effects of violence and trauma in their coverage of children. Understanding the effects and fallout of exposure to trauma will help journalists produce ethical, balanced and complete stories.
This page provides resources to help journalists focus their coverage of children and schools that are touched by violence. These resources are provided as part of a Specialized Reporting Institute (SRI), “Covering Youth Violence: Lessons from the Front Lines,” hosted by the Columbia Graduate School of Journalism on October 25‒26, 2012. The SRI was funded by the Robert R. McCormick Foundation.
Key Web Resources
The Dart Center for Journalism and Trauma, a project of the Columbia University Graduate School of Journalism: The Dart Center provides resources to assist journalists in creating informed, innovative and ethical news reporting on violence, conflict and tragedy. The Dart Center’s website provides articles, interviews, advice, tipsheets and other resources.
National Center for Children Exposed to Violence (NCCEV) trains and supports professionals who provide intervention and treatment to children and families affected by violence and aims to increase professional and public awareness of the effects of violence on children, families, communities and society. The website includes a comprehensive resources center, including a section on school violence.
The University of Chicago's Urban Education Institute aims to to create knowledge to produce reliably excellent urban schooling. The UEI merges scholarship and practice to create tools and models for improving urban schools to influence the lives of children nationwide.
The University of Chicago's Institute for Juvenile Research, a multidisciplinary research, training and service institute for children's mental health, is a vital part of the Chicago community and a major research and training center for children's mental health.
Community Media Workshop provides a unique mix of communications coaching for grassroots, arts and other nonprofit organizations and sources grassroots and community news for journalists.
Articles and Papers by SRI Speakers
Are Zero Tolerance Policies Effective in the Schools?, an academic paper, describes controversy over zero-tolerance policies and their effect on reducing school violence
Other Victims, the summer 2012 issue of Catalyst, focused on violence and youth, including articles by SRI presenter and Catalyst editor-in-chief Lorraine Forte
SRI presenter Jens Ludwig discussed Understanding the Research on Youth Violence
SRI presenter Stephen_Franklin offered these tips for Coverage of Youth Violence
SRI presenter John Sullivan, along with reporters Susan Snyder, Kristen A. Graham and Dylan Purcell, won the Pulitzer Prize for Public Service in 2012 for this 7-part series on school violence:
Resources from the SRI
Project NIA produced this report on Policing Chicago Public Schools
Helping Children Cope with Trauma
Talking to Children About the School Shooting, a blog post on the Newtown shooting
Family Safety Tip Sheet — Helping Children Cope With Traumatic Events, a resource from HelpStartsHere.org
University of Michigan health system's resources for Helping Children Cope with Disasters and Traumatic Events
PsychCentral's guidelines for Parenting after Traumatic Events: Ways to Support Children
Additional Web Resources
What Journalists Need to Know About Guns and Gun Control, a column by Poynter's Al Tompkins
SAMHSA's guide to Coping with Violence and Traumatic Events
How to Manage Trauma, an infographic on recognizing and coping with trauma
Live Chat Replay
Learn How journalists can improve their coverage of youth violence from this replay of a live chat with Dr. Carl Bell, acting director of the Institute for Juvenile Research and a professor in the University of Illinois’ Department of Psychiatry and in the School of Public Health and a speaker at the SRI
Trauma Awareness: What Every Journalist Needs to Know: Covering traumatic events affects journalists' well-being and their ability to do their jobs. This Webinar, originally broadcast Nov. 10, 2009, and offered in partnership with the Dart Center for Journalism and Trauma, teaches journalists to recognize and manage stress and trauma.
Journalism and Trauma: Learn how traumatic stress affects victims and how to interview trauma victims with compassion and respect.
Reporting on Sexual Violence: Become familiar with research, resources and information that will facilitate your coverage of and enable you to dispel commonly-held myths about sexual violence.